2ADVriders Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Mirador Laguna Paron

Amazing views, road is good until the park entrance and then it gets very rough… locals drive up in small cars (there was a Toyota Camry up there) so it can be done but… all depends on how much you like your suspension… catalytic convertor and all the other things hang out down there! It was tough for us on the big bikes, physically especially coming back down. But worth the trip up. It’s amazing up there!
Tour groups go up in 2x4 sprinters and similar… it’s just a rough ride.

An 100 Road closed 7 am to 5 pm

Road complete (I think) no construction going on, still sketchy as all hell… single lane, 2 way traffic cliff edge, no barriers but now that it’s paved, the locals drive faster… good times

Aticara’s hot springs

Could be beautiful… but unfortunately there is a lot of garbage laying around, the locals use the place for laundry and as a bathtub and sand flies… lots of sandflies!
On the plus side, the surrounding nature is stunning and it’s a good place to catch up on some laundry (not in the pools the way the locals do it ;-). You can drive up and camp right by the springs, the drive here is stunning (if you dear take your eyes off the road to take it all in!) Shame about the basura everywhere

SOAT La Positiva / MAPFRE Jaen

Picked up our SOAT here today, if you come from La Balsa where you can’t get a SOAT and you don’t want to wait 2 days to get one, send them your docs via WhatsApp a few days before crossing the border and then send the Aduana stamped TIP as soon as you cross… by the time you get here you will be ready for payment and your SOAT will be emailed to you a few hours later… saves spending 2 days in Jaen…
Their WhatsApp is +51 959 615 607, they are very friendly and helpful… I didn’t ask but I doubt they speak any English

Cerro Mandango viewpoint

Great hike with stunning views, about 45’ to 1 hour to get to the cross,from there you can carry on a do a loop but… there are a few things to take into account if you want to do that!
I have added the screenshot of the loop trail from our GPS for reference.
We did the loop without any info (blind so to speak) and, we’ll we are still here to write about it however:
1- not for people with vertigo or a fear of heights, a decent section of the trail is on a cliff edge of on a ridge with a cliff on either side (red section)
2- wear shoes with good grip!!! If you slide, we’ll that might just be the last thing you do!
3- take a GPS with you as the trails isn’t used often and disappears in the tree/ brush sections. You’ll find it again if you have a GPS with the trail depicted on it, we Used Gaia and had no issues.
4- if you are arachnophobic you might have issues, once you head into the shrubs (as you go down into the valley) you’ll be dealing with hundreds or more spider webs… we took a stick to displace those that were in our way.

The views are amazing and the hike is an adventure, it took us about 4 hours to complete the 6 kms hike but we stopped heaps for photos etc… we were lucky we didn’t get rained on, on a wet day it would have been dangerous.

The section from the cross to the top of the rock is on the edge of a cliff, the path isn’t very easy and good footwear is recommended (orange on the screenshot). There is a cable to help you up the very steep section.
You will be right on the edge of a cliff for a short part of the climb, so keep that in mind. In all honesty, I’d recommend turning back there and heading back down the way you came.

The next 1.5 kms you’ll be hiking on a ridge with cliffs either side(the red section on the map screenshot)… then you’ll spend a km or so wondering where the trail went (blue section on the map screenshot) and clearing branches and spiders out of the way until you eventually enter a farm paddock where things get better as the cows keep the area clear… from there just follow the river down to the road. (The purple section)

Fun hike, just better when you know what you are getting into!!!

Refugio Guagua-Pichincha

Amazing ride, we’ll worth the trip up for you are in a serious 4x4 or on a 1x2… it’s a nice day ride from town to get out and of you are lucky see some snow and amazing views. On a damp day the last 10kms can be quite slippery (fine compacted volcano sand) on the dry it’s not too bad… there are wild camping options along the way too.

The road up is in pretty good condition but being sand with tight switchbacks some bigger rigs or 2x4 might struggle

El Cielo

Quiet place with secure parking for motos away from the madness of the town but close enough to walk everywhere’s very nice owners, clean… paid $25 for the double room, access to kitchen etc… good option if you want to be near the party but not in the middle of it!

Road between Baeza and Lago Agrio is blocked

Road still very closed! Didn’t see the sign so went to the end only to have to come back… huge landslide, won’t be fixed anytime soon! Spoke to the locals who told me the government isn’t working on it so, yeah… could be a year or 2!!!!

Road collapsed

This is the end of the road! A huge landslide took away about 500 meters of the road about 300 meters down into the river. Happened in January 2022 and according to the locals, the government is working on fixing it and the locals don’t have the funds or materials… so it will probably remain closed for a long time… certainly the remainder of 2022 and probably beyond…

Ciudad Canela

Great place for the money, in a quiet neighbourhood, just 10’ walk from downtown huge car park, no height restrictions, nice rooms… all other decent options seem to have closed down due to you know what… I was the only guest here paid $25 inc. breakfast. It’s a good option if you want to be away from the noise, have secure parking and be within walking distance from town.

Coca Zoo - free entry

Still open, still free and in decent condition. Nothing huge but a nice place to go for a walk

Oasis hotel

Place changed names a few years ago and didn’t make it through the lockdowns… no longer a hotel

Runa Wasi

Super nice place! We came for breakfast and stayed around for the night… wood stove in the room, super friendly staff, the weather was average and we could use a break in our trip so we got a room half board for 20pppn.
So glad we spent the day here enjoying the warmth while watching the cold damp weather outside.
Would recommend

Reserva Chimbarazo

We hid here from the snow for an hour or so with a hot drink and a bit of food, didn’t get to see the Refugio as motos aren’t allowed further up but in any case, if the weather is bitter cold, it’s a place to hide and warm up for a bit…

hostería Pakari

We landed here after a slight technical issue on one of the motos, the owner was super nice and accommodating, set us up in one of the bigger rooms upstairs for the same price as the small ones, allowed us to work on the bike under a small BBQ shelter offered for us to use the hot tub but we had too much going on mechanically for that, made us dinner and breakfast… simple place but seems to have a nice enough pool, decent rooms with warm water showers and everything you need.
Super nice owners, pretty decent for the money, can’t go wrong!

Road Jardin Riosucio

Quick road condition update, on 2 wheels, no issues in either directions, with heavy rains you came expect landslides, we were lucky the last one was in the process of being cleared…
As far as 4 wheels… definitely high clearance! Seems the logging trucks have beaten the road up pretty bad in the muddy sections, on the 5kms after the pavement stops on the RioSucio side. I don’t drive vans but it sure looks like it could be challenging without 4x4.

Pereira Plaza SOAT Sura

Important Info… you can no longer buy less than 1 year SOAT. I believe only the stores near land borders will offer those… we had to go back to our agent who imported our motos as she knows where to get a 90 day SOAT!
So plan for that… we had to scramble last minute as DIAN wanted to see a new SOAT for our TIP extension we got taken by surprise when we went to buy our new 90 day SOAT the night before.

DIAN

Complete new system as of… a few weeks ago I think.
So the process now is to get the visa extended (happens all online takes about 2 to 3 days) and with that extension you can apply online for the TIP extension on the DIAN website. It’s a fairly simple process but… start at least 2 weeks before your TIP expires!!! You will get an automated email right away stating you made the request for extension, it took another 8 days for us to receive the email with the date and time for the actual appointment at the chose office for the inspection of the vehicle!!! A few of our traveler friends are now 5 or more days overdue on their TIP and still haven’t received any emails!!! START EARLY.
Once you receive your appointment come here, security won’t let you into the building! We had to call the person who sent the email (phone number in the email then dial 0 to speak to the operator, state the name of the person who sent the email and they will connect you…) someone will come and meet you at the door, went to look at our vehicles that we in the car park across the road and take you past security into the building. A bit of a long winded operation but we got there in the end.
From there it’s a bit of paperwork and some waiting… we left to have breakfast and the DIAN employee came looking for us at the coffee shop to finish the papers.
Very friendly people, the whole process took 2 hours (apparently the new system is a bit tricky for them to use, hopefully it will get better)
You walk away with a piece of paper but that is not your extension! The official document will arrive via email shortly after (we were told…)

Good luck.

Mirador Laguna Otùn

I will give some facts to help decide if you want to come up here, but first let me say, we are glad we came… just a few things to know:

1/ the road to get up here is not smooth or relaxing! We did in on motos but no doubt in a 4x4 camper or truck you’ll get bounced around… it’s not challenging just 40 kms of rough get tiring after a while.

Like I said, glad we came, we spent 2 nights at the restaurant / soon to be hotel camping in one of there rooms.

2/ you have to leave your vehicle at the ranger station and from there it’s a 5.5km walk to the base of the mirador hill. It’s not an exciting or particularly scenic walk. It’s an all beat up access road, slippery in certain section when it rains, lots of lose pebble type rocks, not particularly pleasant, and that 11ams return!

3/ the hike up to the mirador is steep and you are at 4000 meters. The view however (if the weather plays nice) is stunning! But in my opinion the mirrador views alone don’t warrant the 11kms hike HOWEVER… if you have a few more kms left in you and you want to get adventurous there are some amazing trails up here (see photos) we ended up hiking a total of 17kms and 6 of those made it worth while. The trails aren’t super obvious or marked but, with a gps or a decent app on your phone you can do great things here!

4/ the weather… it all hinges on the weather. Most mornings are clear from sunrise to about 9:30 then the fog rolls in and well, there goes your lake views! And then around mid day we got rain. Talking to the locals that seems to be the trend (at least for the last 2 years) we started our hike at 0700 and headed back when it started to rain around 12:30… back at camp by 14:00.
So yeah, plan on going early which means, either start driving up at about 3:30am or sleeping up here (which we did) but consider temps at night are close to or just below freezing. There is only one sleeping option up here right now (see other post)

That’s about the extent of its, it’s a shame that 1- access road is so beat up and 2 that you can’t drive to the lake and start hiking from there (where it gets really good) walking 11 kms to get to the start of a good hiking spot with about 7 hours of decent weather window seems a bit of a waste but, doesn’t seem that park people have much interest in it all… shame really.
Also, no shelter, the mirador itself is falling apart (probably shouldn’t go up it) and when it starts to rain, it gets cold real quick so plan for all seasons up here!

Ranger Station. Park Entry

A quick update on the road situation:
None of these roads have been maintain in… well no one up here knows, so let’s say a while! We came up from Villamaria based on previous post and glad we did. It’s by no means an easy road, pretty rough with the odd mud section. First 10 kms aren’t too bad but then it turns in high clearance 4x4 or moto only. You could pull it off in a high clearance 2x4 but… if it rains you’d be mscrewed in a few places (and it rains a lot up here!)
As for the other 2 roads coming up from Santa Rosa or Chinchiná, they are a no go for the average mortal individual! We were told by various people up here DO NOT GO! Mso we are not going to try that… deep mud holes, rivers that could get to close to 80cms deep if it rains up high, ruts, rocks, boulders… the locals don’t go that way more. See photo of the truck the tour companies use, gives you an idea!
So unless you are getting around in a 4x4 or on a capable moto… you don’t really have access to the park, which is a shame as it’s pretty stunning up here (see other post)

Waterfall

Mostly as described by Michnus below, but the the local farmer who doesn’t seem to like people has put his barbed wire fence across the trail in 2 places… east to step over and the locals seem to head down there as if it’s ok so… anyway, see in the photos where to hop over the 1st fence, the second is very obvious . When you get to the gate and it’s locked call Maria 314 480 0408 (very friendly lady) and she will let you in. There is a fee of COP 2000 per person.
Nice walk and the falls are worth seeing.

Ksa Andina

Lovely! The owners are awesome, the location is just right for us, 2” walk from the centre yet far enough to avoid noises etc… a place to park you truck / motorcycles, super hot showers and probably the best price in town. Did I mention the owners are awesome?! We arrived from Termales la gruta having ridden through mist / rain in 6 degree weather for 3 hours and the lady brought us hot water bottles to warm us up!!! Truly awesome people!! Highly recommend, it’s nothing fancy but it was perfect for us. We stayed 2 nights in this quaint little village.

Aguas Thermales del Gruta

Sweet spot, new owners since 2 years there are now 3 pools, perfect temp, changing room and baños (with TP and seat!) the camping shelters are awesome, the views over Manizales spectacular at sunset… we even found a shelter for the bikes (it rained when we arrived but turned out beautiful later on) owner is super friendly.
No food or drinks so bring everything.
As far as access road, you’d need a serous 4x4 with high clearance right now due to ruta and a landslide if coming up from Gallinazo, ADV bikes no problems, but easy access from the top side (La Tribuna)
We paid 30,000 per person for camping and use of the pools (available all night)
Pretty quiet on a Friday night just us and 3 hikers but week ends could get busy.

Cascade de cocorá / Lumbre

Not worth the effort in our opinion! They charge COP 15k per person (extortion) the trails are poorly maintained, lots of very low branches, fallen trees across the trails, we never made it to the big fall as the trail was impassable due to downed tree, the vista point shelter was full of cow dung… we hid from there rain in there treading poop… we spoke to the hotel staff about it but they really didn’t seem to care. No refund not even partial! I have no doubt there are much better waterfalls around.

Machine shop

Small shop but very capable guys. We sheared a bolt on our pannier rack and they got it out within 10 minutes perfectly done. I am not easily impressed but these guy impressed me! They have drill press, lathe, welding equipment…
Across the road is a shop that sells all sorts of nuts and bolts in metric and footric, picked up the new bolt right there. Very successful morning!

Sendero la sirena

La Sirena is quite a spectacular place to go for a swim, not really because of the waterfall itself but more because of the surrounding forest. It’s in a deep slot canyon lush trees and vegetation, butterflies, birds… i think it was worth the trip up and the COP 10,000 for the guide which you get from the nearby tienda (you can probably make it without one of no one sees you but for the sake of helping the local economy a bit… $2.5 isn’t going to break the bank!)
Things to know before you go:
It’s a wet hike, you’ll have to cross the river a couple of times and it’s deep enough to get wet to your neck (and I am 2 meters / 6’7”) they didn’t mention that so didn’t bring a drybag… made it happen but best to know! You’ll definitely want decent shoes as it’s rocky, wet, slippery all those things…
Also, access to the village, as marked by my partner along the road, there is no access from the Buenaventura side passed aguaclara (road collapsed / no maintenance) and the road from the east side has partially collapsed 3 kms from El Danubio only allowing pedestrians and motos through. The locals are hoping for the govnment to fix the road but I have the feeling the rest will collapse long before there is any repairs being done!
Anyway, the ride down here is pretty spectacular and for that alone we are glad we came. Shame we couldn’t carry on as planned all the way to Buenaventura.

4x4 jungle / waterfall road

Quick update, as of December 2021, this place is no longer accessible by car / van / 4x4. The road from Buenaventura has been abandoned and is now blocked by trees, landslides etc… only passable on foot.
From the east side the road collapsed (see post at location) to the point of only being passable by motorcycles… for now. I anticipate the rest of that road will collapse at the next big rainfall.

Road closed (pedestrians only!)

This road is no longer maintained and several locals in El Danubio have confirmed that due to fallen trees and several landslides this road hasn’t been used for over 2 years with no plans to fix / reopen.
Access is good all the way to Agua Clara but after that it’s no go other than on foot (maybe bicycle if you can carry it?!)
There is another closure to anything other than bikes & motos 3kms east of El Danubio.

Quebrada La Elsa

Sweet 2 tier waterfall, could be busy on the week ends but on a Tuesday we had the place to ourselves… stopped for a picnic lunch, option for a refreshing shower

Alto de Aguacate

More burial caves, not quite as colourful and elaborate as the ones in Alto de Segovia but the view on the hike getting here make up for it. Well worth it.


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